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Camping at ESR: What you need to know

Empire State Ride is just around the corner, and riders are in for the journey of a lifetime. Not only are we advancing cancer research from the seat of our bikes, but we’re also taking on a unique cycling challenge. If you’re anything like Maria Thor, you’re going to learn a lot during your week on the road.

“I did my first Empire State Ride, hopped on the bus and off I went. I’d never camped. I was a Holiday Inn girl, but I learned to camp, and I’ve learned a lot of things about myself that I never thought that I would do or could do,” says Maria Thor, veteran rider.

If you’re a first-time road warrior or thinking about becoming one next year, you may be wondering what to expect at camp. After a long day of riding, there’s no better feeling than freshening up and getting settled in for the night. By familiarizing yourself with the schedule and resources, you can make the most out of your camping experience. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect.

🚲Your experience Includes:

• No-hassle tent camping, including tent, chair, air mattress, clean towels and daily delivery of your luggage
• Shower truck, restrooms, , bike truck and mechanics support
• A HUB with rider information, beverages, snacks, first aid supplies, sunscreen, and cue sheets,.
• Wellness support, including first aid and physical therapists as well as optional for-cost massages
• Catered breakfast and dinner with consideration for dietary restrictions
• Charging stations for devices
• Nightly mission-based programming


Daily routes close at 3 p.m. each day. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. with nightly programming at 6:15 p.m. that unites everyone around our shared mission to end cancer. Then, you have free time until 10 p.m. when quiet hours begin. You can use that time to enjoy our evening reception, chat with other riders, or just unwind while reflecting on the day.

🚲 Location

Map of ESR with orange colors fading it to show each camp.

Day 1 (July 23): Wagner College, Staten Island
Day 2 (July 24): Somers High School, Somers
Day 3 (July 25): Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck
Day 4 (July 26): Shaker Heritage Society, Albany
Day 5 (July 27): Donovan Middle School, Utica
Day 6 (July 28): Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport
Day 7 (July 29): Ferris Goodrich American Legion, Spencerport

Here’s one last note from veteran rider, Richard Noll.

“At the end of the day, it's not about the ride. It's about the funds raised. And it's about hanging out at camp when you get there. Trust me, the beer tastes really good after a day of riding.”

Richard Noll
Two riders embrace in a side to side hug at the finish line of Empire State Ride.

Thinking about tackling this summer adventure in 2023? Follow along on social and join our mailing list!


Packing pro tips (from riders who’ve been there)

Tackling a seven-day, 500+ mile cycling adventure takes preparation. One of the best steps you can take to prepare for the Empire State Ride is to pack appropriately. From there, check out the tips below from our veteran riders for inspiration on some of the more unique items you might need.

🚲 Terry Bourgeois

ESR founder Terry Bourgeois suggests packing:

  1. Flashlight for navigating camp
  2. Vitamins, focusing on magnesium and potassium supplements for recovery
  3. BioFreeze or a topical pain-relieving product
  4. Earplugs to use in the tent
  5. Desitin for skin irritation

🚲 Maria Thor

Six-year rider Maria Thor is always prepared with:

  1. Performance bars
  2. Packs of nuts
  3. Pedialyte for hydration
  4. Toilet paper with a plastic bag for use in between rest stops
  5. Tube, co2 cartridge and bike tool

🚲 Joyce Ohm

Four-year veteran rider Joyce Ohm can’t leave home without:

  1. Gallon Ziplock plastic bags – she packs her kits (jersey, bibs, sports bra, socks) in plastic bags for each day, with clothes for the evening, as well. Dirty clothes go back in the plastic bags. If it rains, suitcases can get wet, and the bags protect her clothing from rain.
  2. Lightweight, fitted sheet to cover the air mattress
  3. Battery-operated fan for the tent
  4. Recovery shakes and a reusable water bottle
  5. …. and most importantly: A sense of humor!

As part of the $3,500 fundraising commitment, riders are provided with a tent, air mattress, camp chair and towel service each day. Each rider is allowed two medium-size bags, plus a sleeping bag and pillow that we transport each day. The weight of any single bag may not exceed 35 pounds. Pack strategically to have everything you need to enjoy the week! 


Training for Hills on Flat Terrain

This is one of the most common questions I get asked. In this blog, I’ll break down the demands of climbing and the solution for training in flat terrain to meet those demands.

The demands of climbing can be broken down into three basic requirements. Good oxygen delivery to the working muscles, good pedaling efficiency and the right mindset and strategy to tackle the elevation gain. Let’s look at these a bit closer.


Oxygen delivery is expressed as VO2Max. This is your maximum ability to take oxygen from the atmosphere and deliver it to the working muscles. This is a very trainable system that does not require hills to accomplish. In the ESR Training plans your V02 is improved with the long Endurance Miles (EM) and the short high intensity Power Intervals (PI).

In the case of Endurance Miles it’s actually better to do this training on flattish terrain so you can keep the intensity consistently low. You may have heard this described as Zone 2 training. And here’s the kicker, the Power Intervals are best done in a very controlled environment and I often encourage my athletes to do these on an indoor trainer. You can do them outdoors as well but flat terrain is the best for these intervals as you need very high cadence to execute these well.

Pedaling Efficiency

It takes more energy to accelerate a bicycle that it does to keep it at a steady speed. So if you have big dead spots in your pedaling cycle you are essentially accelerating during every revolution of the pedal stroke. A dead spot is where pedaling power (torque) is lost when sub-optimally shifting from one movement pattern to another. Unpacking this further, if you have a dead spots in your pedal stroke you will struggle when the road goes up or when there is a significant headwind. Improving your pedaling efficiency will make the hills and headwinds a whole lot easier.


The good news is that this is very trainable in flat terrain. Use headwinds to improve your pedaling mechanics. Personally I like headwinds because it gives me an opportunity to work on my pedaling mechanics. And if you want to take it to the next level, go ride in a sandy trail. That will teach you how to maintain torque on the pedals.

To mimic the muscular endurance demands of climbing, ride into a headwind during your Endurance Miles with a bigger gear than you normally would choose. Don’t worry about speed, keep the intensity low and focus on maintaining effective force on the pedals from 12-7 around the crank.

Mindset and Strategy

If you dread the hills you’re missing out on one of the most enjoyable aspects of cycling. I recently moved to Florida from CO and before I chose where to live here I did a recon to find the hilliest area in the state. So first we have to change our mindset and see hills as an opportunity to practice our pedaling and learn how to ride them with skill. Every hill provides a prize at the end, the fun descent!

First rule of climbing is start easy! Biggest mistake is to start too fast, blow up halfway up and rest at the top. When I do a climbing camp with cyclists the first thing I do is to challenge them to go up a hill as slow as I do. Invariably, as we ride side by side, as soon as we hit the hill they accelerate and within a few seconds are a bike length ahead of me. The right way to approach a hill is to keep your intensity at the same level as you were on the flats and allow the hill to slow you down. Shift to a lighter gear then if at some point you think you can go a little harder do it in small increments, one gear at a time, at a pace that you can sustain over the top and for the first 10 feet of the downhill on the other side.

You can practice this on flat terrain with a headwind. Pick a 5-10min stretch of road, start slow and gradually increase your speed until you find the right pace for you. Keep your Rate of Perceived Exertion at 6-7 and practice eliminating the dead spots in your pedal stroke.

The bottom line is that if you follow one of the three ESR training plans and incorporate the pedaling efficiency training you will have trained as well as you can for hills in flat terrain.

See you all soon!

Coach Charlie


Finding the right wheels and gear

Empire State Ride is the adventure of a lifetime for many types of athletes. This unique challenge proves that, with two wheels, you can change the world and save lives. We have the answers to frequently asked questions about your two wheels.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of bike can I use? 

A road bike is the best type of bicycle to ride during Empire State Ride. Road bikes are light weight, have a shifting system to take on distance and hills, narrow tires for pavement and precision braking systems. 

Some riders opt for a touring bike, which is heavier but built for long distance riding with gear.

Regardless of the make and model of your bike, we highly recommend you take your bike to a local bike shop for a fitting and tune up before setting out on this adventure.

Can I use an e-bike?

For Empire State Ride, we allow Class 1 and Class 2, pedal-assist road or touring bikes. We cannot accommodate throttle-assist e-bikes. E-bikes will need extender batteries to achieve the daily 70+ miles per day. E-bikes are charged each night at the campsite. Owners are responsible for charging the batteries. Before registering, please call us at 716-845-3179 to confirm your type of e-bike and charging requirements. 

Do I need clips and cycling shoes?

Many of our riders prefer to clip into pedals with cycling shoes, which allows for power on both upstroke and downstroke. Riders have completed Empire State Ride on touring and fitness bikes with clip-in or flat-pedal shoes. 

What do I wear?

High visibility gear! We suggest packing a fresh pair of cycling shorts and jersey for each day. Registered riders receive an Empire State Ride custom cycling jersey to wear on the first and last day of the weeklong ride. Don’t forget to pack cycling socks, cycling cap, shoes, gloves and a rain jacket. Empire State Ride happens rain or shine!

What do I need for my bike?

Riders need a seat or handlebar bag for their bike. Bike bags should carry a patch kit, tire levers, spare tubes, inflator and co2 cartridges (threaded or unthreaded dependent on type of inflator) to inflate tires and a multi-tool for quick repairs. A GPS unit is necessary for navigating our route, and we suggest carrying two water bottles for hydration. Certified helmet (CPSC or ASTM) and flashing front and rear bike lights are required for safety.

To be prepared for an average of 80 miles each day, riders should train to ride 20 to 30 miles outdoors at a brisk pace without stopping. Riders need to be comfortable while riding on bike paths and with traffic. Getting plenty of “seat time” will help your body adjust to the feel of long-distance cycling. It’s important to start using anti-chafing personal care products early in training to figure out what works best for your body. We suggest using chamois butter and Desenex proactively. 

The Empire State Ride is an experience for any cyclist who can commit to take on the adventure of a lifetime to end cancer. If you have additional questions, contact our team at .

Charlie Livermore’s ESR training plan

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. Here’s what he has to say about training for the Empire State Ride. 

Hi everyone, Coach Charlie here.

I’m happy to announce that the 2022 ESR Training Plans are now available on the website.

The fitness and experience level of Empire State Ride cyclists is broad. As a coach, I’ve been challenged to provide the right advice for this wide a range of riders. The training load necessary for an advanced rider is too much for a beginner and the correct dose for a beginner will not help the advanced rider.  

In an attempt to better serve all of you I divided the group into separate categories and created three versions of the training plan.

  • Advanced Rider Plan
    The advanced rider plan is designed for cyclists that ride all year around and cycling is their primary sport. These cyclists can easily tackle the distance of the ESR. Their goal might be to ride the 540 miles at the highest average speed they can achieve every day or use the training stimulus of a big volume week to prepare for another event goal. The average speed of this group is generally in the 18-20 MPH range.

  • Intermediate Training Plan

    The intermediate rider plan is also designed for cyclists who ride all year around. These riders won’t have a problem tackling the distance, but it will be a significant challenge. The average speed of this group is generally in the 14-16 MPH range.

  • Beginner Rider Plan
    This group of riders are either brand new to cycling or usually start training in the spring and summer months just to prepare for the ESR. Average speed of this group is generally in the 10-12 MPH range.

The biggest difference in these plans is the start date and therefore the length of the training plan. For Beginners I stayed with the original 22-week plan since most of those in this category don’t have an indoor training option and can’t ride outside until spring due to weather conditions. The Intermediate and Advanced assumes you have an indoor training setup or can ride outdoors.

Before you begin, familiarize yourself with the Summary of the Cycling Workouts (Table 7.2) and the corresponding Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and Breathing Rate (BR) (Table 7.1). Understanding RPE and BR are especially important to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity of the prescribed workout.

For those of you who are looking for a plan customized to your specific schedule and goals, contact me for a free coaching consultation at

The Training Plans

Train Right

Whether this will be your first ESR or you are an experienced multi-day event rider you’ll benefit from following one of the structured training plans described above.

Preparing your body for the challenge of riding 500+ miles isn’t just about riding more. You’ll achieve a better level of preparedness with quality training over quantity. Anyone can do the Empire State Ride, even a time-crunched athlete can feel confident at the start line if they train right. It can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the sport, but if you follow the right training plan for you, I am confident you’ll be ready for ESR 2022.



Warmups can vary depending on the daily workout, but you want to do at least 15 minutes of conversational pace riding before you start any high intensity interval workout. The warm up period may be anywhere from 15-30 minutes, but it’s more important to focus on the precise execution of the intervals than getting in exactly 15, 20, 25 or 30 minutes of a warmup. For example, you can use your warmup to get to the best place on the road to start your intervals. For this reason, workouts will be listed with a total duration that is longer than the total time of the actual intervals.  After you warm up and complete the intervals, complete the remaining prescribed time of the at an easy endurance pace.




Intensity levels can be measured via Power, Heart Rate or (RPE). I prescribed all workout intensities based on (RPE). RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It’s a very simple measure of workload to determine how hard you feel you are exercising. In a training setting, the RPE scale is from 1-10 (1 being no exertion and 10 being a maximum effort). Each workout has an RPE associated with it to help guide you to the prescribed intensity. To use this scale, you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with each workout. Below, Table 7.1 Workouts, RPE and Breathing Rate lays it all out.





Recovery Miles (RM)

Recovery Miles is exactly that. It’s needs to be very easy to allow you to recover from previous workouts. They’ll range anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes and should be substantially easier than Endurance Miles. It should be 2-3 on an RPE scale and have a frequency of 2-3 times per week.


Endurance Miles (EM)

This is the intensity that much of your riding time will consist of. Many people refer to it as their forever pace, but it’s also the time around your interval sets. Theses rides should be a 4-5 on the RPE scale and range from 90 minutes to 6+ hours. Your speed will vary with uphills and downhills but remember to keep your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) the same. Going uphill at the same speed requires more work, which can turn your Endurance Miles into Steady State quickly.

Tempo (T)

Tempo workouts are that pace between your Endurance Miles and lactate threshold. These workouts help develop a stronger aerobic engine by maintaining an effort outside of your comfort zone. They should be a 6 on an RPE scale and range from 15 – 45 minutes for each interval. Be very careful that you don’t let your intensity level get into your lactate threshold. It’s very easy to let it creep up, but faster doesn’t always mean better. You need to be able to sustain that pace for longer periods of time to get the best adaptation.

Steady State (SS)

Steady State are probably the most well-known of these workouts. They’re a very important part of training and are very strenuous. They should be done at or slightly below your lactate threshold at an RPE of 7-8. These intervals are shorter than Tempo because of the intensity involved. Each interval ranges from 8 to 20 minutes and has a 2-to-1 recovery ratio. A typical workout may look like 3×10 min with 5 minutes of active recovery between each interval.


Power Intervals (PI)

Power Intervals are short, extremely strenuous intervals that help develop your VO2max. They last 1 to 5 minutes at an RPE of 10. Warming up before these is even more important so make sure to get in 15-30 minutes of conversational riding before you start the intervals. The recovery period is 1 to 1, so 1-minute intervals have 1 minute of active recovery.


Here is the summary of the six key cycling workouts.




Fast Pedal (FP)

This workout should be performed on a relatively flat section of road or on an indoor trainer. The gearing should be light, with low pedal resistance. Begin slowly and increase your pedal speed, starting out with around 15 or 16 pedal revolutions per 10-second count. This equates to a cadence of 90 to 96 RPM. While staying in the saddle, increase your pedal speed, keeping your hips smooth with no rocking. Concentrate on pulling through the bottom of the pedal stroke and over the top. After one minute of Fast Pedal, you should be maintaining 18 to 20 pedal revolutions per 10-second count, or a cadence of 108 to 120 RPM for the entire amount of time prescribed for the workout. Your heart rate will climb while doing this workout, but don’t use it to judge your training intensity. It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the Fast Pedal workout with as few interruptions as possible, because it should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed training intensity.


Rest Between Intervals (RBI)

This is the rest time between each interval. Note that this is active rest. The RPE is low at 1-2 but don’t stop pedaling during the RBI period.


Rest Between Sets (RBS)

This is the rest time between sets of intervals. Note that this is active rest. The RPE is low at 1-2 but don’t stop pedaling during the RBS period.



Here is a typical Steady State (SS) Interval Workout:


60min w/ 3x6min (SS), 3min RBI


All workouts start with the total time. In this case it’s 60 minutes. Within the overall time there is a specific interval set of three intervals. Each interval is 6 minutes long at the Steady State (SS) intensity and the rest between each 6’ interval RBI is 3’. The total amount of time of the interval set is 24’. So, what to do with the remaining 36’? Use some of the time before the interval set to warmup and ride the remaining time, less 5’ for a cooldown, at Endurance Miles (EM) intensity.



Now that you have a training plan and a basic understanding of the fundamentals, it’s time to get started! If you’re interested in learning more about a personalized plan, you can reach out to me at

Cycling safely when alone or in a group

Empire State Ride is a cycling adventure for those who commit to advance cancer research from the seat of their bike. To have the best possible experience, whether you’re riding across New York State or in your hometown, staying safe on the road is imperative.


Safety tips:

Make left turns from the center of the road or the left turning lane.

  • Do not cross the yellow center line regardless of the passing zone.
  • Cross railroad tracks at right angles to avoid getting stuck between the rails and the road.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink before you are thirsty during and after your ride.
  • Wear sunscreen on all exposed skin. Follow these five tips to find the right SPF.
  • Know your limitations.
  • Listen to your body. Take advantage of rest stops and lean on our team for support when you need it.

When riding in a group, your fellow riders will expect you to ride at a consistent speed and direction until you signal and communicate your change. Practicing cycling etiquette helps to eliminate crashes and injuries.


Cycling Etiquette tips:

  • Obey all traffic signs, signals and police officer instruction.
  • Ride as far to the right of the road as is safely possible, except to pass.
  • Use proper hand signals when turning.
  • Be aware of your surroundings — This adventure takes place on open roads. Motor vehicle traffic will be present. Headphones, iPods and radios are prohibited.
  • Wear a properly fitted CPSC standard bike helmet and appropriate cycling gear. A helmet must be worn at all times while riding. Find out how to properly fit your helmet here.

Now you are ready to take the open road and enjoy your Empire State Ride.

Additional resources:

In the meantime, here are a few more tools to help you familiarize yourself with basic cycling safety and etiquette. Enjoy these videos provided by the League of American Cyclists:

How to add the Empire State Ride route to your Garmin

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. 

ESR Riders, 

The Empire State Ride GPS course files were recently sent to us, so I thought I’d share my method for importing them to my Garmin Edge 1030. I’m fairly certain this method will work with all Garmin Edge models. I’m not what you’d call “super techie,” so I still use the old school USB cable transfer protocol. There are ways to do this wirelessly, but I’ve never used that method. So, here’s a quick step-by-step for USB transfer of your Empire State Ride route GPS course files.

1. Download the course files provided by ESR to your personal computer. Make sure you know where you’re downloading them to so you can access them later. 

2. Connect your Garmin to your computer using a USB cable. Wait a couple of minutes until you see the image below on your Garmin screen. If you don’t see this image after two to three minutes, disconnect the cable from your computer, shut down your Garmin and re-connect.

Garmin app
Click to enlarge

3. Now using the Finder, My Computer or other tool on your computer, open the drive associated with Garmin, usually labeled Garmin. Open the folder located inside the Garmin drive.

Click to enlarge

4. Click or drag the exported files from your computer and drop them into the New Files folder.

5. Safely disconnect or eject the Garmin and unplug it from the computer.

6. After powering your Garmin back on, click the Navigation icon on the main screen, then the Courses icon and finally the Saved Courses icon. There, you’ll see your ESR GPS files.

Easy enough! See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Charlie’s tips for safe paceline riding

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. 

A paceline is a formation used by cyclists to maintain a higher average speed in a group while expending the least amount of energy. By “drafting,” or sitting in the slipstream of a rider in front of you, your effort to maintain a given speed can be reduced by 15% to 30%, depending upon the speed you’re riding, the wind and the terrain. It’s an honorable facet of cycling in that everyone is working together for the common good of the group. When performed poorly, the formation becomes counterproductive. 

There is one critical skill you need to perform well in a paceline that you can practice on your solo training rides. So, before I get into the nitty gritty of pace line tips, let’s cover this basic riding skill. 

learn to ride in a straight line

This is arguably the most important skill to master. You may think that riding a straight line is primarily executed by steering the bike but it has more to do with how you pedal. When you apply force to the right pedal, the bike tends to move to the left and vice versa. The greater the force you apply to the pedal, especially at the bottom of the stroke past 5 o’clock (radial force), the more the bike will move “off-line.” 

To practice this skill on your solo rides, ride the white line on the road and focus on even pedaling between both legs. Try different gear/cadence ratios and look at the line 20 feet in front of you. Once you think you’ve got it, take it one step further: stay on the white line and maintain your speed while reaching for your bottle, take a drink and replace it. The Empire State Ride is a long ride and you’ll have to drink often, so I strongly encourage you to practice and get comfortable with taking in fluids without disrupting the paceline. 

For this blog, I am focusing on single file paceline because it’s the easiest to master and safest for the type of roads you’ll encounter on the Empire State Ride. Because a paceline is structured, it requires consistency, predictability, communication and alertness from all riders. If done properly, a single paceline is much safer than a group of riders strewn haphazardly across the road because no movements are arbitrary. So, let’s start at the front. 

Leader's Responsibility

When you are at the front leading the group in a paceline, you have a huge responsibility and need to stay aware of that the entire time. If you’re the person taking the long pulls or at the front pulling all day, it’s easy to mentally drift off and forget that everyone behind you is depending on you to guide them safely down the road. You must focus and guide your group defensively and on course. You are constantly looking for road hazards and potentially dangerous traffic situations while maintaining a speed the group can handle and all the while looking for those #ESR21 directional arrows. It’s a lot to take on. 

keeping the pace at the front steady

The number one mistake riders make is picking up speed when it’s their turn to take a pull. The second biggest is when the rider signals that they are done pulling, move to the side and keep the speed the same. Both the cyclists who is coming to the front for their turn to pull and the one who just finished their pull have the biggest impact on the pace of the group. Make sure that when it’s your turn at the front, you maintain the same speed and avoid surging. Don’t be a “Sergio.” Don’t go to the front and accelerate. If you surge, gaps will open, the draft effect is minimized and the paceline turns into a slinky. If you are a strong rider, take a longer pull at the front, not a faster one. 

The rider who is pulling off will force an increase in the pace by not slowing down enough once they’ve moved over. If you move over and don’t scrub speed, the rider pulling through has to speed up to pass. When you’re done pulling, move to the appropriate side and then slow down 1-2 mph so that the pulling rider can pass you at the same speed you were pulling at. 

in the line micro adjustments

It’s nearly impossible for everyone to put forth equal amounts of effort, especially on undulating terrain. You need to make micro adjustments along the way to prevent the line bunching together or getting strung out with big gaps. Think of it like driving a car. You don’t slam on the brakes, then hit the gas; you moderate your speed with small adjustments to the gas pedal.

To do that in a paceline, try some of these techniques. 

  • Soft pedaling – When you begin to get sucked into the rider in front of you, take a light pedal stroke or two to micro adjust your speed accordingly. Try not to stop pedaling and over adjust.
  • Shifting – Being in the right gear/cadence ratio will make your soft pedaling more effective. If you’re in too light of a gear, soft pedaling will not micro-adjust your speed down and too big a gear will force you to stop pedaling to reduce speed and then difficult to micro adjust your speed back up. Again, think of this as your gas pedal. It would be much more difficult to maintain a steady speed if the pedal has no resistance against your foot (gear to light) or requires a huge force to push it down (gear too big). 
  • Feathering the brakes – Gently use the brakes while continuing to pedal or soft pedal. You can also reduce your speed without braking by raising your body to create more air resistance or moving over slightly out of the draft of the person ahead of you. You want to avoid over adjusting and moving forward or backwards too fast. 
  • Field of view – Don’t focus on the wheel directly in front of you. It’s an instinct when riding in a line, but it gives you zero time to react should something go wrong. Keep your head up and check about 10 meters down the road. Look through holes in the leading rider—over their shoulder, under their arm or through their legs—and ride proactively instead of reactively. This will help keep the line moving smoothly. 
  • Conserve energy – If you’re starting to feel tired from pulling, sit out a few turns until you’re ready to take another pull. Simply open a spot for riders to rejoin the line in front of you or come to the front and immediately pull off and drift to the back. You don’t have to take a pull at all if that’s what works for you.
  • Starting from scratch – If you’re new to this, the best way to start out pace line riding is with a partner you trust who is a smooth rider. Start out following them with about 2 feet of space between your bikes or greater if you’re not comfortable being that close. Gradually close the distance to whatever your nerves can stand. Ideally you want to be six to 12 inches away. 

a word about risk

The efficiency of riding in a pace line comes at the cost of added risk. Riding in a pace line is not as safe as riding by yourself. If the rider ahead of you (or behind you or on either side for that matter) does something unexpected, you could find yourself on the pavement in an instant. Don’t ride in a paceline unless you’re willing to assume these risks. 

And finally, I leave you with this.

There are three basic rules to paceline riding: 

  1. Don’t do anything suddenly
  2. Don’t do anything suddenly!

See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Charlie’s tips: Nutrition and hydration for ESR training

ESR Riders:

May is here and the weather is starting to favor outdoor rides again. If you’re following the ESR Training Plan, the volume of your weekend endurance rides is starting to build to the point that we need to start to pay attention to nutrition to make sure you have the fuel for the work required.

In my coaching practice, I spend equal amount of time prescribing training and fueling strategy necessary to complete the workouts. In this era of low carbohydrate diets, getting my athletes to consume enough carbohydrates is a struggle, but when they do, the difference in the consistency of their moderate to high intensity efforts is astonishing. And this, my friends, is where the magic happens.

Carbohydrate needs may be different at different exercise intensities. When the exercise intensity is low and total carbohydrate oxidation rates are low, carbohydrate intake recommendations may have to be adjusted downwards.

With increasing exercise intensity, the active muscle mass becomes more and more dependent on carbohydrate as a source of energy. Both an increased muscle glycogenolysis and increased plasma glucose oxidation will contribute to the increased energy demands. It is therefore reasonable to expect that exogenous carbohydrate oxidation will increase with increasing exercise intensities.

Hydration is perhaps even more critical to get right for all workouts. One of my favorite quotes, “nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated environment,” sums it up well.

Here’s a great in-depth article written by CTS Coach Renee Eastman that spells it all out.

Be well and Train Right! 

Charlie Livermore l Pro Coach Carmichael Training Systems

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